SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been disqualified by Pakistan's Supreme Court, which has also ordered the president and parliament to select a new prime minister.
The Supreme Court says Gilani can no longer serve as a member of parliament and the prime minister because he was held in contempt by the court on April 26.
Back then, the court found him guilty of refusing to pursue legal charges over alleged money-laundering against President Asif Ali Zardari, who Gilani insists, enjoys immunity as the head of state.
Furious opposition group decided to resort to the Supreme Court for the prime minister's disqualification.
The opposition outrage further flared up after a ruling issued by the speaker of the National Assembly Fahmida Mirza in favor of the prime minister.
"Yousuf Raza Gilani has become disqualified from being member of the parliament," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry told a packed courtroom on Tuesday.
"He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan with effect from the same date (April 26) and office of the prime minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly," Chaudhry added.
The top court has now ordered the president and electoral officials to take the necessary steps to replace Gilani.
"The Election Commission is required to issue notification of disqualification... The president is required to take necessary steps under the constitution to ensure continuation of democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country," he noted.
However, Gilani and his lawyers have always insisted that only the parliament can remove him from office.
"The Supreme Court cannot disqualify the prime minister like this,” Lawyer Fawad Chaudhry said.
President Zardari has called an emergency meeting with members of his ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to discuss the situation.
The governing PPP has the necessary majority in parliament to elect a successor to Gilani.
Gilani's disqualification spells a fresh political turmoil and the clash of institutions in Pakistan just months ahead of the widely-expected general elections. —www.shafaqna.com/english